Aspects of the natural history of Phrynus barbadensis (Pocock, 1893) (Amblypygi: Phrynidae)

Richard A. TORRES, Luis F. de ARMAS, José TOVAR-MÁRQUEZ

Abstract


Information on preys and predators of the amblypygids is scarce, largely disperse and sometimes overlooked by the arachnologist. Phrynus barbadensis is a Neotropical whip spider widely distributed, but its natural history is poorly known. The main purpose of this contribution deals with preys, predators, reproductive effort and microhabitat preferences of P. barbadensis in a Colombian locality. Field work was carried out by two researchers during four expeditions of six days each, between June and November 2017. Two observed cases of intragremial predation concerned to the spitting spider Scytodes longipes Lucas (Araneae: Scytodidae) and the giant whip spider Heterophrynus caribensis Armas, Torres-Contreras & Álvarez (Phrynidae: Heterophryninae). A new case of a mollusk as prey of whip spiders is also recorded. The number of embryos per batch in P. barbadensis was 14-79 (n = 27, mean = 40, standard error = 3.83), having a positive correlation with the female size. This species was highly associated to fallen trunks and rocks, but poorly to the litter and rocky walls (χ2 = 16.26, P < 0.001); with respect to the substrate temperature, it showed a positive association. The cannibalism and necrophagy among the whip spiders are briefly commented, and updated lists of the known preys and predators of the amblypygids are also provided


Keywords


Ecology; Heterophrynus; Necrophagy; Scytodes; South America

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